Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Hel Encounters, Part III

Quests of Hel
The Underworld awaits us all, though some may venture there sooner than later. Roll 1d12.

1. Bring death upon those chosen by Hel: The party is approached with an offer to slay a popular performer. If they pass on it, they know the Hel cultists will likely enlist someone else who won't.

2. Spread disease when needed, it aids in death: With an odd brush, a peasant passes by a little too close. He is actually infected with a debilitating disease that can only be removed by willingly giving it to someone else. The peasant knows it, and an unlucky party member will soon learn it too. Night time nightmare visits from Hel herself will remove any doubt,

3. Stop the spread of people, famine is an invaluable tool: Grain silos are being set ablaze in this region. Rumor has it that the culprit screams "to Hel with it all!" before fleeing into the night.

4. There is also a time for sloth, it slows life: When next relaxing and doing little, Hel will reward the party with a slaying, an illness, and great loss of food in the vicinity. Those who dislike such things may not wish to relax much longer.

5. Remain hidden: A trollkuna of Hel is discovered, though she actually does some strange good and wishes to keep to herself. Should her secret be kept?

6. Witchcraft (Trolldomur/ Haliuruna): The next spell a non-Lawful party member casts requires a roll on the Trollkona table. They will then have the opportunity to become one if they wish, though they also of course be tempted to begin following Hel.

7. The Underworld (Niflheim/ Eljudnir): The area grows dark and cold. Those who do not escape in time (save vs. death/ make a Reflex save DC 15) will be stranded in the underworld. Followers of Hel gain a +3 bonus to their save, but likely are fine with being closer to her. 

8. Serpents & Monsters: Rumor has it that something deadly lurks in a nearby cave, devouring peasants and all others who venture too close. Those brave enough to venture inside will realize that it is a (roll 1d4): [1] giant snake, [2] enormous dire wolf, [3] frost giant, [4] pack of zombies. The local Hel worshippers will either be interested in using the monster as their guardian if it isn't their guardian already.

9-12. Two-faced, dual nature of death/ life: Reroll twice

See also Unsettling Encounters in Volume I.

A Taste of Eljudnir
a Helian Encounter
Whether setting forth willingly or being drawn in via Helian ropes (or the like), the party finds themselves in a damp cold cave that is somehow still snowing despite being enclosed. If that is not enough of clue that something is amiss, the howling and moaning sounds from the connecting tunnels might help.

The tunnels remain dark and cold. Any attempts at light will only provide feeble illumination, though the place glows dimly. Ceiling to floor clearance varies between 5 +1d6' in most corridors, rising to 7 + 1d8' within chambers. Feel free to also roll on the Unsettling Encounters table (detailed in Volume I) often.

(Each square = 5') 

Location 1
As described in Background, above, this cave otherwise splits in three directions. The passage tp the north (likely from where the party came) is sealed by some invisible source. Impassable, some other method found deeper in the caves might provide another way out. Strange foot prints in the melting snow lead to Location 3.

Location 2
Purple-green mists swirl here. Those who enter will encounter an apparition of the last person the party knew who died. Depending on their life's deeds, it may simply be a shade if their spirit has had time to move on to an Afterlife. If not, then it is more potent, and may provide some wisdom or terror, also depending on how well the party treated them. In any case, its presence will only last 3d4 rounds, then vanishing, whisked way elsewhere in Niflheim.

Shade of the Departed
AL: (as in life), MV: 60’, AC: 5*, HD: (as its HD/level in life), Atk: 1 (chilling touch), Dmg: 1d8, SP: touch drains 1d2 Strength per hit, immune to normal weapons, SV: F4, Mor: 9, Appearance: noble ghostly form reflecting what it had in life. 

Location 3
Strange footsteps in the wet snow lead here. Corpses lie throughout, strewn immediately on the floor and strewn in the alcoves. There are 13 in all. The wise will hopefully realize the footsteps belong to them before its too late- for they will arise when enough potential victims are within the room.

Hel Zombies
AL: C, Mve: 30’, AC 6, HD 2, Attk: 1 (slam); Dmg: 1d6; SP: immune to nonmagical weapons, undead traits, SV: (as level HD/level in life), Mor: 12, Appearance: rotting corpses in various stages of decay, each marked with a black rose tattoo

Location 4
Red-black mists swirl here. Those who enter will encounter an apparition of the last foe the party slew. It will remain present, intent on settling the score, until either the party dispatches it again, or 3d4 rounds pass. Whatever the result, it will be elsewhere then.

Shade of the Vengeful
AL: C, MV: 60’, AC: 5*, HD: (as its HD/level in life), Atk: 1 (chilling touch), Dmg: 1d12, SP: touch drains 1d3 Strength per hit, immune to normal weapons, SV: (as level HD/level in life), Mor: 12, Appearance: demonic ghostly form reflecting what it had in life.  

Location 5
The snow collects more here, and strange shapes seem to writhe on the ceiling. Closer examination will show them to be snakelike phantoms, but a wickedly laughing women's voice will soon draw all attention. Upon a sleigh, riding about the place, is a woman in red and black, drawn by a pair of white wolves, all with a look of Hel to pay.

Those who don't show her proper deference will be immediately attacked, almost as if she would want them to.

Ingirun HelisdottirLvl 7 Norse cleric of Hel, Align: C, MV: 40’, AC: 6, HD: 7, HP: 30, Atk: 1 (+1 flail), Dmg: 1d8+1, SP: cleric abilities, spells prepared (1st Level: Remove Fear (reverse), Erase*, Shield* (made of darkness), Sleep* (filled with nightmares), Spider Climb*, 2nd Level: Augury,  Amnesia*, Ray of Enfeeblement*, Scare*, Stinking Cloud*, 3rd Level: Continual Light (reverse), Cure Blindness (reverse), Dispel Magic, 4th Level: Fear; also unlife of the party & quite undead-like (immune to sleep, but must gnaw on bones daily)- see Volume I, SV: C7, Mor: 10, Items: holy symbol, red and black +1 leather armor, flail, dagger, 69 gold pieces. Main Emphasis: The UnderworldAppearance: white hair, slender build, pale complexion.

Winter Wolves
AL: C, MV: 60’, AC: 5, HD: 6, Atk: 1 (bite or breath weapon), Dmg: 2d4 or SP: cold breath causes 6d4 damage to all within 10'- save vs. breath weapon/ Reflex save DC 15 for 1/2 damage; takes +1 damage from fire & immune to cold, SV: F6, Mor: 10

Next week: our series on divinity encounters continues with Hera!